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Israel to ‘review’ Irish NGO operation in Palestine as Martin says treatment of Irish ambassador in Jerusalem ‘wrong’

Israel rebuked the ambassadors of Ireland, Norway and Spain over their governments’ plan to recognize a Palestinian state and asked them to view newly released images of female army recruits detained by Hamas gunmen. (Reuters)

Israel plans to “review” Ireland’s diplomatic, economic and humanitarian activities within Israeli borders, the country’s ambassador in Dublin has said as political tensions rise over the Government’s recognition of the State of Palestine.

In an interview with The Irish Times, Dana Erlich said there would be a review of bilateral relations – “diplomatic, security, economic, military, anything, intelligence – all aspects, and then we will look at the different diplomatic tools. that we may have, whether authorizations, accreditations, something like that.”

When asked about Irish non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Palestine, he said: “I don’t know because most of the steps are with government entities and bodies, but… we need to review all that,” he said. recognizing that many NGOs are funded by the government.

She spoke as she prepared to return to Jerusalem for consultations with her government following Ireland’s decision, along with Spain and Norway, to officially recognize the State of Palestine.

This week’s announcement prompted the Israeli Foreign Ministry to reprimand its ambassadors during a meeting in Jerusalem on Thursday, where diplomats were also shown video footage of female Israeli soldiers taken hostage by Hamas.

Tánaiste and Foreign Minister Micheál Martin criticized the way the meeting was organised: Israeli media filmed Irish ambassador Sonya McGuinness and her European counterparts watching the video.

“We have a very strong ambassador, I think she does a fantastic job in Israel, she is fair, but I think there have to be rules about how diplomats are treated and there has to be respect and I think today was very inappropriate and wrong, but of course Anyway, we will continue to make our point.”

Martin said it may not have been intentional, but “I have never before encountered a situation where the media was invited to witness (a meeting of diplomats) as happened today.”

Erlich said Ireland had a “disproportionate obsession with Israel that we don’t see in any other country.”

He also expressed concern and frustration about the way Israel is perceived and portrayed in Ireland.

“You can oppose Israeli policy and the current government,” Erlich said. “You can oppose the measures taken by Israel. You can object to decisions.

“But what we see here – the comments made by politicians, the different initiatives spread in civil society – has gone beyond normal criticism, it is a defamation of an entire society, which now also extends to the Jewish community here .

“We see the rise of anti-Semitism. And everything is connected. That is why yesterday’s step worries us because of the message it sends to Hamas, but also, as an ambassador, I am worried about how Ireland views Israel and the future of these relations.”

In an interview with CNN on Thursday evening, Taoiseach Simon Harris said he would not tolerate any country misrepresenting the position of the Irish people, adding: “We have been clear and unequivocal in condemning Hamas, that we condemn the most horrific and barbaric massacre. that has occurred. Israel experienced October 7th.

“We call for the unconditional and immediate release of all hostages.”

He said it was possible to say this and also say what “unfortunately some refuse to say” in relation to the Israeli response to the October 7 attack: that “what is happening in Gaza is a humanitarian catastrophe, that children are going through hunger… . and that there are children who will go to sleep in Gaza tonight without being sure if they will wake up in the morning.”

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